Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Nixing immaturity in red blood cells

A process of self-digestion called autophagy prompts the maturation of red blood cells.

Without a protein called Nix, the cells would not effectively rid themselves of organelles called mitochondria and consequently become short-lived, leading to anemia, said researchers at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston in a report that appears online today in the journal Nature.

“It’s changed our thinking on autophagy,” said Dr. Jin Wang, assistant professor of immunology at BCM and senior author of the report. During autophagy, the cell forms an envelope or vesicle around components of the cell that need to be degraded and removed. The vesicle then fuses with a cellular component called a lysosome that degrades its contents. The inclusion of components in the cell by autophagy vesicles was generally considered to be nonspecific.

“This is not a random process,” said Wang. “Nix is instructing the cell to get rid of these mitochondria.”

... more about:
»autophagy »blood »mitochondria

Nix accomplishes this task by disrupting the mitochondrial membrane potential (represented by difference in voltage across the inner membrane of the mitochondria. The interior is negative and the outside positive. The difference generates a force that drives the synthesis of ATP, the cell’s energy molecule).

“We think the finding is not limited to the clearance of mitochondria in red blood cells,” said Wang. “When other cells get old or stressed, their organelles may become damaged and need to be cleared by autophagy for quality control. If the cells lack such quality controls, they might have problems that result in aging, cancer and neurodegenerative diseases.”

“It helps get rid of old or damaged mitochondria,” he said. “It is a way to keep the cell functioning without going through programmed cell death (apoptosis).”

“Such specific regulation of autophagy may also be important for cell types in the muscle, brain and pancreas,” said Dr. Min Chen, assistant professor of immunology at BCM and a corresponding author of this work. “The next step is to identify proteins interacting with Nix for mitochondrial quality control by autophagy”. Other factors may also regulate this process in addition to Nix, said Hector Sandoval, a BCM graduate student who is the first author of this paper.

Dipali Pathak | EurekAlert!
Further information:

Further reports about: autophagy blood mitochondria

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Novel mechanisms of action discovered for the skin cancer medication Imiquimod
21.10.2016 | Technische Universität München

nachricht Second research flight into zero gravity
21.10.2016 | Universität Zürich

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>